Leigh Miners return to league action on Saturday when they take on Egremont Rangers in Round 17 of the NCL Kingstone Press Cider Premier Division, Kick off 2-30pm at Twist Lane.
Miners go into the game having reached their third Conference Challenge Trophy final in four years last weekend, beating Thornhill Trojans 24-18 to make the showpiece event at Widnes in October. The club being delighted to be in with a shout of winning the Trophy again but the semi final performance being far from convincing, with Miners being poor throughout and never really getting going which was very frustrating despite the victory.
This week’s game is another important one for Miners as they look to push on and finish strong in the final third of the league campaign. A victory this weekend would keep Miners well in the mix at the top end of the table, but know they will have to be much better than they was last weekend if they are to get the two points against an Egremont side who always play good rugby down at Twist Lane.
Coaches Allan Coleman and Paul Whitworth make two changes from last weekend with Matt Astley and Charles Tyson coming into the side for Ellis Grimes and Connor Ratcliffe.
Speaking about last week’s win against Thornhill, joint coach Allan Coleman said “I thought we got old schooled last Saturday, Thornhill had a few old experienced players and they did there best to disrupt how the game went.”
“We lost a lot of ball early in tackles, but we showed at times that we can score some good tries when we keep hold of the ball.”
“Overall I was very pleased with the result but not the performance.”
With Paul Whitworth adding “I think we were all a little nervous and it stayed with us most of the game.”
“They play an unorthadox game, were physical in contact and on the floor and not always within the laws of the game.”
“It was their cup final and credit to Thornhill as they came and gave it their all. The pace for the first 25 minutes was really quick but once we started getting quick ruck speed we started to score and half time came at the wrong time for us.”
“The second half was just a big frustration as the tempo and flow was constantly disrupted but credit to the players who battled hard to hang in there, keep composed and get us into another final.”
“The final though has to be pushed to back for a while as we concentrate on the league.”
On this week’s game against Egremont, Coleman said “Egremont will be tough on Saturday, They will be smarting from last week and knowing Gary he will have them fired up.”
“Blake Mahovic is back for them and hes a powerful centre, Leon Crellin and the Bewsher brothers all cause problems.”
“So we need to pick up our performance from last week and we will be okay,Every game is a grand final for us now.”
With Paul Whitworth adding ” We’ve been tested in a few different ways recently and it feels right to point out that with the run in the Challenge Cup & Challenge Trophy we have maybe been a victim of our own success.”
“Having to play up to seven more games than some other clubs, And like I said last week we’ve had to play a little more conservatively than we like to grind out the wins.”
“So as we approach today’s game I think we can throw off some of the shakles of recent weeks and start to enjoy playing the game how we like play it.”
Egremont travel down the M6 on the back of a 28-10 Conference Challenge Trophy semi final defeat against local rivals Wath Brow Hornets last weekend. The defeat ending The Monts hopes of a cup double in 2015 having already won the BARLA National Cup in May, beating Sharlston Rovers 34-16 in the final.
In the league Egremont are currently in eighth position two points off sixth place East Leeds with seven games remaining. Five of them seven games are away from home and with only having managed to pick up a draw so far on their travels this year, the Cumbrians will need to win a few of their remaining away games to have any realistic chances of making the end of season playoffs.
When the two teams met at Gillfoot Park earlier in the season, Egremont won a high scoring contest 40-30, to end Miners unbeaten start to the season.
Leigh Miners second team are away at Bank Quay Bulls on Saturday in the league.
The u18s are at home on Sunday against Clock Face Miners in the league, Kick off 11-45am at Twist Lane.
Leigh Miners Ladies are at home on Sunday against West Craven Warriors in the league, Kick off 2-30pm at Twist Lane.